Auckland Stairwell Collapse Injures Three, Still No Rest For Philomen Gulland

First it was the Auckland transport chaos on the opening night of the rugby world cup, now it’s a collapse of a stairwell in a central Auckland shopping mall undergoing renovation work.

In New Zealand for the rugby and thinking of responding to the spam? the following may be of interest to you.

LATEST: Three people have been injured after a stairwell collapsed in the Mid City Arcade in Queen St.

Emergency services were called to the arcade at 10.40am today and three people were taken to Auckland City Hospital with moderate injuries.

The fire service said no-one was trapped.

Police said the stairwell was part of an old movie theatre in the arcade and renovations were taking place in the complex.

Inspector Matt Sillars said a staircase was being demolished and “somehow came down prematurely”.

It is not known if the three people who were hurt were working on the demolition.. more here

A later report on Channel 3 news added the following information

Part of the building has been closed to the public for major renovations, and those injured are believed to have been involved in the reconstruction.

The staircase collapsed with a “huge bang” shortly after 10:30am, Mr Phillips said.

Tunnel Explosion

Philomen Gulland

There’s still no word on the outcome of the fatal accident investigation into a tunnel explosion that killed a female Canadian engineer Philomen Gulland , 48,  and injured six others, one seriously.

The family of Ms Gulland, a Watercare maintenance planner, say they have been left in the dark about why she died:

The family of a Watercare maintenance planner killed in an Auckland gas explosion have broken their silence to call for answers about how and why the mother-of-two died.

It is two months since Canadian-born Philomen Gulland died in the unexplained blast while she was inspecting a tunnel in Onehunga.

But Ms Gulland’s family are no closer to knowing how she died – and say they have been left in the dark by authorities investigating the tragedy.

Ms Gulland’s brother, Bernie Penner, said: “The only thing that I know is what I read in the papers or read online. We haven’t been told anything.” more here

Philomen and her husband were big supporters of Oxfam in New Zealand and they were the driving force behind Watercare’s partnership with Oxfam Trailwalker ever since the event came to New Zealand in 2006. She undertook the 100 kilometre challenge an amazing five times.

She was said to be a “stickler for work safety” and said she felt that engineering ran in her family – her father had spent 34 years building roads for the Department of Highways in British Columbia through challenging terrain such as the Rocky Mountains.

In June the Herald said of the explosion site

The mammoth pipeline project that yesterday cost a female worker her life was dogged by delays and being forced through uncharted terrain.

The terrain where the explosion occurred is notoriously difficult. The land is predominantly hardened lava field with huge pockets of largely uncharted tunnels and caves.

Officials had sought information from Watercare about the terrain, particularly on the likelihood of lava caves in the area.

A report prepared by Watercare in March last year for the former Auckland Regional Council conceded radar probes had failed to reveal exactly what was underground…more here

Watercare Services is headed by Mark Ford, who isknown a s the “czar of water and transport” and the “invisible autocrat” in Auckland  where he oversaw the establishment of the supercity.

The department of Labour is investigating both incidents.

You may be interested in the ongoing inquiry into the Pike River Mine Disaster.

3 thoughts on “Auckland Stairwell Collapse Injures Three, Still No Rest For Philomen Gulland

  1. Quite a few companies [including the stairwell collapse one] have been involved in multiple accidents and court cases. Particularly untrustworthy.
    Tight lipped, sweep it under the rug and hope the stink doesn’t stick around [to long].
    Yet these guys are still operating in NZ, hmmm.

  2. Somewhat related, this is about workplace safety:
    “New Plymouth company could face liquidation if fined heavily for accident”
    (Let me off with a fine ‘cos I is poor, nevermind the person that got injured)
    During a hearing in the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday, Hughes said Devon Staffing Solutions Ltd could only afford to pay a penalty of $5,000 as anything more would likely threaten the future of the small business.

    Devon Staffing Solutions Ltd, along with Knight Group NZ Ltd were jointly charged after Worksafe New Zealand prosecuted them in connection with the accident in September 2014.

    Both defendants had pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching the Health and Safety in Employment Act at an earlier appearance. The maximum fine which can be imposed for the offending is $250,000.

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